Category Archives: history

Jazz, Blues & Babes: The Latest Words from 1915

 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Terms that first appeared in print in 1915 reveal something about life a hundred years ago. Although the war in Europe left its mark on the lexicon, there are also signs of the changing times … Continue reading

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The Biggest Mystery about English Crime Shows: British Legal Terms You Meant to Look Up

Love British courtroom dramas like “Rumpole of the Bailey,” “Kavanaugh, QC” and “Silk” but a bit muddled on the difference between a silk and a stipe? Get your ducks in a row here. (Thanks to former London solicitor Dana F. … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: Retronyms for when you’re talking old school

If Don Draper of “Mad Men” asked his secretary to place the GM file on his desktop near the dashboard icon, she might wonder what joker got him a plastic figurine for his car. Those terms have different meaning since … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: Century-Old Words

If you took our 100-Year-Old Words quiz, you may recognize some of these, but it’s hard to believe these words have been around for a century. Imagine Mr Selfridge spouting some of these words and phrases.         … Continue reading

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Extra Lex: “Life in the 1500s” Phrase Origins Hoax

While Lexie waits for the return of the novel novelist, check out these articles from Mental Floss debunking a popular email with fake origin stories for many expressions: http://mentalfloss.com/article/55503/7-tall-tales-about-life-1500s-and-origins-phrases http://mentalfloss.com/article/55688/6-widely-repeated-phrase-origins-debunked

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Quiz: 100-Year-Old Words

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, six of the following words and phrases first appeared in print in English in 1914. Can you spot the four that didn’t and tell whether they appeared earlier or later? La gazette du bon … Continue reading

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Ain’t no contraction shortage

It is a truth universally acknowledged that before the present day no one used contractions. To give dialog the ring of days gone by, some writers expand everything we would contract.  Have you not noticed? Recently “Fresh Air” host Terry … Continue reading

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